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Visiting Boucherville, Quebec: A Sense of the Flow of History, Overlooking the Saint-Laurent / Saint-Lawrence

Updated on January 21, 2020
Flag of Quebec
Flag of Quebec | Source
On  île de la Commune, on Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville. On the horizon: église de Sainte-Famille and the former Couvent de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame
On île de la Commune, on Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville. On the horizon: église de Sainte-Famille and the former Couvent de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame | Source

A sense of sedateness but also of relentless energy

Boucherville, in Quebec's Montérégie region, is one of the various towns which lie on the mighty Saint-Laurent / Saint Lawrence, which indeed gives all such towns a unique character.

Founded in 1667 by Pierre Boucher (born in Normandy, France in 1622), Boucherville has greatly expanded in recent decades and today forms part of Agglomération urbaine de Longueuil / Longueuil Urban Agglomeration, situated close to Montreal.

Depicted in the photo, above, are two of Boucherville's more prominent and historic buildings. The Eglise de la Sainte-Famille (1), with its prominent cupola and spire, dates from 1801; it replaced previous structures for a parish which dated from 1678. Close to the Eglise de la Sainte Famille is the former Couvent des religieuses de la congrégation Notre-Dame / Convent of the Nuns of the Order of Notre-Dame, which dates from 1890. This building's mansard roofing and the nearby cupola and spire of the Eglise de la Sainte-Famille constitute conspicuous landmarks highly visible from both the Saint-Laurent / Saint Lawrence and Boulevard Marie-Victorin, an important road artery which links Boucherville with the Downtown area of Longueuil.

A ferry maintains links with the nearby Îles-de-Boucherville, on which exists the Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville / Îles-de-Boucherville National Park (2)

Boucherville has been associated with a number of very prominent Quebec historical figures. These include Louis-Hyppolite La Fontaine (1807-1864) known for his defence of the French language and, with Robert Baldwin (1804-1858), for having been the first leader of a responsible Parliamentary government In Canada; he served in this role in Canada-Est / Canada East (3) from 1848 to 1851. Louis-Hyppolite La Fontaine's childhood home is a visitor attraction situated in Parc de la Broquerie, Boucherville (the structure having been moved in 1964 from another location) (4).

Another prominent resident of Boucherville was Patriote Louis Lacoste (1798-1878), noted for long service as a parliamentarian; his son Alexandre Lacoste (1842-1923), born in Boucherville, was a distinguished parliamentarian and judge, serving also as Administrateur du Québec (Acting Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec).

Boucherville, sedate but apparently relentless in energy, comes across as a place associated with the flow of history, as well as being intimately linked with the flow of the Saint-Laurent / Saint Lawrence, as it were.

Having spent part of my youth in Uruguay, I am reminded of a speech by President José Mujica who described the great River Plate as 'The river which ... unites us' (5); similar words would seem to apply to the Saint-Laurent / Saint-Lawrence.

January 21, 2020

Notes

(1) See also (in French): https://paroissesdeboucherville.org/paroisse-sainte-famille/

(2) See also (in French): https://www.sepaq.com/pq/bou/

(3) Canada-Est / Canada East was formerly known as Bas-Canada / Lower Canada, and after Confederation Province du Québec / Province of Quebec.

(4) Pont-Tunnel Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine / Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Bridge–Tunnel, which links Longueuil with Montréal, is likewise named for this prominent, local historical personality.

(5) Spanish: 'El río...que nos une'.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Louis-Hyppolite La Fontaine
Louis-Hyppolite La Fontaine | Source

Also worth seeing

The architectural and cultural attractions of Montreal (distance: 17.7 kilometres) are too numerous to mention here, but of special note, among many others, are the domed Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours), dating from 1847, which was a venue used to house the Parliament of United Canada, prior to Confederation. The Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal) was built mainly between 1824 and 1829; many Montrealers attend annual performances of Handel's 'Messiah' there. Fine views from Mount Royal (Mont Royal) may be obtained at St. Joseph's Oratory (Oratoire Saint-Joseph) and the Belvedere (Belvédère). The Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique) in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, used for the 1976 Olympics, has the the world's tallest inclined tower, at 175 metres.

The Co-Cathedral at Longueuil (distance: 14.3 kilometres), which incorporates Gothic and Byzantine features, has a spire which attains a height of 81 metres; it dates from 1884.

...

How to get there: Air Canada flies to Montreal (Aéroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montréal; distance from Boucherville: 35.2 kilometres) from Toronto-Pearson, and from New York-Newark and New York-La Guardia, with wide connections. A number of car rental companies offer service at Montreal-Trudeau airport. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map location of Boucherville, Quebec
Map location of Boucherville, Quebec | Source

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